Negative Dialectics in Miserable Times: Notes on Adorno and Social Praxis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adorno’s social theory dissolves the dogmatic posture of reified things. Its critical intention is to decipher the human social practice hidden in things. For Adorno, the social practice that counts is the one that fights barbarism, and for this fight to succeed, it has to tackle the social preconditions that make barbarism possible. A social practice that fails to do just that partakes in the false world of bourgeois society that it ostensibly seeks to overcome. In this context, Adorno argues, on the one hand, that the fight against barbarism is impossible because every social practice is the same. On the other, he says that negation is the only alternative to the falsehood of bourgeois society. The essay explores Adorno’s Negative Dialectics to examine this paradox and to decipher its conception of social practice in a reified world. What does it mean to say ‘no’?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-134
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Classical Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

Cite this